Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

MotoGP Qatar: Rivals name Dovizioso as favourite to win

MotoGP Qatar: Rivals name Dovizioso as favourite to win

Marquez was quickest on the first runs in the second part of qualifying and led on a 1m54.368s, but was then knocked off the top spot by Andrea Dovizioso, who set a 1m54.074s on his works Ducati.

Yamaha turned a corner in this area on Sunday afternoon in the warm-up session, according to Rossi, and this allowed him to stick with Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez in race.

Danilo Petrucci managed to hold off a late surging Maverick Viñales for fifth position.

Italian great Valentino Rossi will start his 23rd season of grand prix racing, at the age of 39, from eighth place for Yamaha.

"In FP4 we changed quite a lot of the bike, similar to what I was riding a year ago, and I felt much better already from the first lap", he said.

But it hardly mattered for the Italian when the lights went out as he edged out Marquez's Honda by just 0.027seconds to clinch the Grand Prix of Qatar last night.

The action was not over there, with Dovizioso and Marquez pushing themselves to the final corner of the final lap - taking no prisoners.

"It was close in the last corner and I thought Dovi would overtake me before the finish line with the slipstream, which he did". Our front tyre worked very well, our bike and my riding style worked really good for the tyre.

Rossi was happy with the podium and said the Yamaha was in good shape this year but he added they needed to do more to beat Ducati and Honda. There is still a lot more that I need to learn in MotoGP.

After a not-so-impressive performance in 2017, LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow also made a healthy comeback during qualifying and will start fourth tomorrow, ahead of Dovizioso.

Making his 200th start in the premier class, Dani Pedrosa on the second factory Honda took seventh ahead of early race leader Zarco, Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) and Jack Miller who completed the top 10 in his first race for Pramac Ducati. "Already from the first lap, I feel much more comfortable than the bike I rode three months ago".

It was a bad start to the season for Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who crashed out of the top six fight on the 13th lap at turn two, while Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) had a start to 2018 to forget as the Spaniard crashed out on the same lap - at turn 16.

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